Great Metal Albums of 1985: Dio- Sacred Heart


For far too long I have heard people complain how Dio’s third album, “Sacred Heart” wasn’t as good as their first two albums, “Holy Diver” and “The Last in Line.” Okay, I agree with that train of thought, this album doesn’t quite reach the mark set by those other two killer albums but in no way fathomable way does it suck either. It doesn’t even come close to sucking!

One could accuse me of being slightly biased because in 1985, I had become a die hard Dio fan and may have thought that Ronnie James was God. When “Sacred Heart” hit the shelves of my local record store, my friend, who was also named Mike and whom I based the Mario character on in “Rock and Roll Children,” and I were there to buy it. He bought it on cassette while I chose vinyl. The cassette was put onto the tape deck of my car so I got to listen to a couple of tracks on the short drive home and we were both impressed.

My theory as to why Dio opened the album with a live sounding track is because they did put on a kick ass live show back then and wanted to treat their listeners to those memories. “King of Rock and Roll”does deliver. Following on is the title track and my favourite one on the album. It definitely gets my vote for hidden gem and I thought it fitting that when they played it live on the “Sacred Heart” tour, it was during this song when the mechanical dragon made it’s appearance on stage. That spectacular memory still gives me shivers.

Although not filler, “Another Lie” bridges the gap between the title track and the one song which can be identified as the biggest song which inspired me to write “Rock and Roll Children.” Need I state the title of the track here? Dio helped capture the true feeling of how metalheads were discriminated against and sometimes victimized for their musical and lifestyle choices. He puts those feelings into music so eloquently.

I had prior experience of “Hungry for Heaven” thanks to the “Visionquest” soundtrack but I am glad it was included on the album. Better here than on a soundtrack with Madonna on it. Now, some say that the rest of the album is strictly filler, again, I don’t agree. The only track that might fit is the penultimate “Fallen Angel” but even that has some good moments on it. On “Like the Beat of a Heart” I have always loved the Ronnie’s opening lyrics, “Tonight we run, we can hide in the night with light of the dying sun.” The song reminds me of “Straight Through the Heart” and “Invisible” from the “Holy Diver” album. Maybe it’s a combo of the two. In addition, I have always found the closing track, “Shoot Shoot” very entertaining. Played well with some amusing lyrics. However, I don’t know that if someone actually ever pointed a gun at me, I would say those words. It does end the album very well, even with the twee gunshots and confirms my belief as to how good this album actually is.

As a result of the album’s lack of commercial success, Ronnie James Dio would blame much of it on guitar player Vivian Campbell, who he fired midway through the tour. Ronnie went on to claim that it was like Vivian wasn’t there for the recording of the album. I can’t help think that Ronnie was being a bit too harsh here. There are some good solos from Vivian on the album so it wasn’t that. I think the main reason for its lack of success was the fact that metal had served its purpose as far as mainstream music was concerned and radio or record companies weren’t too bothered with promoting it. Just my thought anyway.

Track Listing:

  1. King of Rock and Roll
  2. Sacred Heart
  3. Another Lie
  4. Rock and Roll Children
  5. Hungry for Heaven
  6. Like the Beat of a Heart
  7. Another Day
  8. Fallen Angels
  9. Shoot Shoot


Ronnie Jame Dio- vocals

Vivian Campbell- guitar

Jimmy Bain- bass

Claude Schnell- keyboards

Vinnie Appice- drums

Despite what the doom merchants have said about “Sacred Heart,” I still love this album. Sure it’s not their best but following two great albums such as “Holy Diver” and “The Last in Line” would be a daunting task for any band. Dio comes close with this one.

Next post: Rough Cutt

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to:












6 Responses to “Great Metal Albums of 1985: Dio- Sacred Heart”

  1. Totally agree with you on this one! A very underrated album with some of my favourite Dio tracks.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. All 4 of Dio’s first albums are 10/10.

    King of rock n roll is one of his best ever songs.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My favourite Dio album, although I may be biased too, as my first Dio purchase was Live in Philly 1986, which is such a great live album.

    Liked by 1 person

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